Master Thesis Work

  • Topic: Light manipulation of 3D printed photoswitchable scaffold for mechanical stimulation
  • Motivation: Photoswitchable scaffolds are promising platforms for a biophysical understanding of mechanotransduction which allow photomechanical stimulation of cellular proteins in a molecular lever, thus controlling mechanosensing in cells and control cellular functions (e.g. cell adhesion and cell differentiation) in a user-defined manner. Reported examples mainly deal with the response of cell adhesion to forces on the azobenzene-functionalized surface. Therefore, in this work, we apply an azobenzene which performs a high frequency oscillation upon illumination with visible light in a 3D matrix. Moreover, the light-based 3D printing is selected as a strategy to print scaffolds and open possibilities for the fabrication of complex multifunctional structures, eventually allowing for the quantitative probing of mechanical interactions between cellular proteins and photoswitchable azobenzene in 3D. 
  • Requirements: 
    • The candidate should have previous synthesis experience. 
    • A basic knowledge of chemistry and material science is required. 
  • Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Christine Selhuber-Unkel, Dr. Qiyang Jiang 
  • Starting date: As soon as possible 
  • Submission until: six-months Thesis 

HiWi position

  • We are hiring a student assistant (HiWi) for 3 months (40 hrs/month) for the following project: “Photoswitchable azobenzene-based platform for mechanotransduction” from June 2023 to August 2023.
  • The student (background: chemistry) will work on the following tasks:
    • Synthesis of azobenzene
    • Surface silanization and further modification with azobenzene and biomimetic peptide

Two HiWi openings

We are looking for two student assistants (Hiwi) for 20 hrs/month to help with the cell culture laboratory organisation at IMSEAM.

The student will work on the following tasks:

·      Autoclaving cell culture consumables

·      Monitoring of the liquid nitrogen tank

·      Refilling of consumables

·      Help with training of new students in the cell culture laboratory

·      Organisation of the cell culture laboratory

Start: As soon as possible

Contact: Tanisha Gerbert or Mehran Mehrabanian


We are hiring a student assistant (Hiwi) for 4 months (40 hrs/month) for the following project: ''Generation of cell microfabrication for 3D networks''; from January 2023 to April 2023. The overall goal of this project is to use a 3D laser microprinter to generate highly accurate 3D microprinted scaffolds to study 3D cell proliferation and migration in a predefined design. 
The student (background: biology/biochemistry, biophysics, and similar disciplines) will work on the following tasks: 
  • Design of CAD files using Inventor AutoDesk (in collaboration with Dr. Mohammadreza Taale or Malin Schmidt);
  • Mechanical characterization of 3D laser microprinted structures by microindentation using Pavone Optics11 (in collaboration with Tobias Spratte or Dr. Federico Colombo);
  • Basic biological and biophysical mechanisms underlying cell proliferation, migration and organization in 3D artificial micro-scaffolds (3D cell culture, immunofluorescence staining, live/dead assays, qPCR, confocal and tracking microscopy).

PostDoc and PhD positions

Postdoctoral Researcher and PhD positions available in the 3DMM2O (3D Matter Made to Order) Please find the details here.

Other positions available:

Master's thesis in Biophysics: Live single-cell mass characterization

Thesis in Mechanobiology: Cell-culture micro-scaffolds for 3D networks

If you are interested in joining the group, don't hesitate to contact Prof. Selhuber-Unkel.